To experience a place with all your senses, you can’t leave out taste. Culinary travel adds new dimensions to a trip—sometimes historic, sometimes simply delicious. Here are a few Northern Michigan foodie destinations worth biting on.
Sip a shrub—a kind of Revolutionary War-era kombucha—help cook over the fort’s wood-fired bread oven and see what you had to serve at tea to be particularly fashionable in Colonial Michilimackinac’s heyday, all at new “Gardens and Good Things to Eat,” June 17–18 in Mackinaw City. Organizers say the event is a particularly interactive (and tasty) way to learn about the food cultures of the fort’s French, British and Native American residents.
Dinner and a movie … and a beer. March’s offering in Frankfort’s fourth annual Dark and Stormcloudy Film Series takes viewers/tasters to Belgium in story (The Brand New Testament, at Garden Theater), beer (a Belgian Dark Strong Ale at Stormcloud Brewing Company) and dining (a France- and Belgium-inspired feast). Beer and movie combos are available March 9, 12 and 16 when you get a $5 beer token with your $7 movie ticket.
To let people really settle into the rhythm of the circa-1910 farmhouse bed and breakfast experience at Hillside Homestead B&B in Suttons Bay, Susan Odom is now offering weekend FarmCations that kick off March 18–20. Rates ($600 single, $800 double) include historically authentic meals (many featuring her maple-cured bacon), maple syrup making, and the chance to feed pigs, gather eggs, and stir the soup, all in cozy unplugged comfort.
Think progressive dinner, except that your neighborhood dining (and drinking) stops are wineries, not the friend next door. Bowers Harbor Vineyard and Brys Estate run safari suppers ($85) that include wine, beer, food and transportation between the two vineyards and to your final three-course wine and beer pairing dinner at Mission Table. (Sundays, June–October). Two Old Mission wineries, Chateau Grand Traverse and Chateau Chantal, also offer inn stays to round out your weekend.
You’ve experienced historic movie theaters and farm-to-table dining, but you’ll get a combination of the two at the new Delft Bistro restaurant/theater in Marquette. It’s the latest project of the owners of Donckers candy store, which, conveniently for your movie candy stash, sits right next door.
March snow is generally assured at Iron River’s family-friendly Ski Brule, starring in good late-season ski conditions and crazy family fun. On Thursday and Saturday nights, the onsite Homestead Lodge’s BBQ, serves all-you-can-eat dinner of pulled pork, BBQ chicken, potatoes and more with a sleigh ride and live acoustic music.
“Small town, epic food,” may not overstate the culinary renaissance happening in bike-and-beach-friendly Boyne City. Investigate the scene on Boyne Appétit Wednesdays (through June). Two cocktails and an appetizer to share run $15 at participating spots like new 7 Monks Taproom, Cafe Santé, Porter Creek Fish House and more.
Celebrate at a foodie festival. Here’s a few we like: The fish fry at the St. Ignace fish feast along the St. Ignace Marina, July 22. Asparagus, through poetry, parades and unexpected flavor combinations at the Empire Asparagus Festival, May 20–22. Strawberries at July’s Strawberry Festival in Chassell, in the Upper Peninsula. The festival shortcake is said to be so good that it alone has made this one of the longest running festivals of its kind. And of course, the National Cherry Festival, July 1–8, in Traverse City!
Traverse travel editor Kim Schneider writes from Suttons Bay.
These Northern Michigan foodie getaways are featured in the scrumptious March Food Issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Get your copy for 40 killer eats.